A U.S. Navy warship has sailed through the strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China, amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Reuters reported.
The vessel, identified as Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54), conducted the transit on July 24-25 (local time).
“The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.
“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.
Taiwan is among a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols, according to the Reuters report.
The U.S. State Department has recently approved the sale of M1A2T Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs), and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, worth around $2.2 billion, to Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
The announcement angered China which considers Taiwan as a wayward province of “one China”.